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Freedom of Association and the Fair Work Act

  • Workplace rights regarding freedom of association are protected under the Australian Fair Work Act 2009 Cth s.346(a), 345, 350 and 772 (FW Act).
  • The FW Act provides that all employees and contractors have the right to become a member of an industrial association and to be represented by an industrial association.
  • It’s unlawful to take or threaten adverse action against a person for being, or not being, a member of a union or for choosing to be represented, or to not be represented, by a union.
  • Under the FW Act, an adverse action against a person includes: dismissing them; changing their role to put them in a worse position; or changing their terms and conditions of work to put them in a worse position.
  • There are many active professional sports players associations in Australia today, including: the Australian Cricketers’ Association, AFL Players’ Association, Rugby League Players’ Association, Professional Footballers Australia, Australian Basketball Players’ Association, Rugby Union Players’ Association and Australian Netball Players’ Association.
  • Freedom of association is also recognized by the United Nations and the International Labour Organization as a fundamental right for ALL workers under the Freedom of Association Convention (no. 87) and the 1998 Declaration on fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

Australian Professional Golfers have the right to join a players association.

All Australians do, whether they work as a casual or permanent staff member, part time or full time, in a large or small business, in an office or on a golf course!

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